Some people fear them, dread every second leading up to the one where they break from consciousness, sacrificed to the shadows of their psyche. Meanwhile, other people dedicate hours that morph into days and weeks mastering how to instill their own lucid dreams—to escape the harsh realities life to a world of their own. Like people, dreams can be good or bad; inherently pleasurable or hellish, and if you had to pick a band to capture all that truly defines dreams—the great ones, the good ones, and the horrifying ones—Michigan’s Sleep Waker is definitely the band to choose. Combining haunting, eerie melodies with malicious breakdowns and cutthroat grooves, Sleep Waker combine blistering nu metal, abrasive metalcore, and just enough ethereality to drop the listener’s guard, making an experience that is haunting and brooding while managing to be addictive and immersive in everything they write.
Founded by percussionist Frankie Mish, bassist Noah Boland and vocalist Hunter Courtright in 2016—and shortly after, rounded out by guitarists Jason Caudill and Eric Overway—Sleep Waker have shaken the midwest’s heavy music scene from a deep, dark slumber with their blend of monstrous, nu-infused metalcore and heavy-handed hardcore. The group burst out of the gates with their debut single, “Bitter,” an aptly-titled display of frosty, furious aggression creating a curious haunting atmosphere, which grew to accrue over 600,000 plays on YouTube and a lofty amount of local notoriety. Riding hotly on the heels of the success of their debut effort, the band went on to release their debut EP, Lost in Dreams, which earned critical acclaim and an overwhelmingly positive reception in the heavy music community not just in Michigan, but worldwide. In the months since then, Sleep Waker have taken their unique sound and used it in conjunction with determination and a die-hard work ethic to make theirs a household name in the Michigan heavy music circuit while continuing to focus on spreading their sound all over the Midwest. Serving as support for bands like Traitors, For the Fallen Dreams, the Plot In You, and beginning to spread outwards into the US, Sleep Waker’s profound growth in a shockingly short period of time is a testament to their prodigal talent and thought-provoking style of aggressive music, making them one band you certainly don’t want to sleep on.